As temps drop, I’m gearing my Mother Earth News foraging blog towards plants that can be harvested even when nights are below freezing. Here’s the first in the series, on chickweed (Stellaria media).
Today I did a quick foraging foray for magnolia buds and sassafras twigs. I had an accomplice, I mean apprentice, along with me The super-efficient, bee-line foraging I would’ve done by myself was contrasted with wanting to share as much information as possible with today’s foraging buddy.
And that highlighted something I often mention when I’m leading foraging tours: an experienced forager doesn’t just wander out into the landscape hoping to find something to eat. She knows which plants are in season, and which ecosystems (pine barrens, garden weeds, deciduous forest, etc.) they are going to be found in. The odds are ever in her favor when she sets out on her treasure hunt armed with this knowledge.
Late fall and winter are not bad times for foraging if you know what you are looking for, especially if you identified the plants during the warm months when they still had flowers and leaves. The takeaway here is that foraging is a year-round pursuit: what you learn in summer will serve you when there is snow on the ground.
But don’t worry if you’re new to this and too eager to wait for next spring: I’ll be sharing lots of cold weather foraging tips over the next few months!